Help! I Don’t know What I Want To Do When I Grow Up

 In Career Change, Confidence

“I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up!”

I hear this statement a lot in my line of work but honestly, it makes me cringe. The reason I don’t like it is that I believe that words are very important and how we speak to ourselves can make have an impact on our likelihood of moving forward or staying stuck.

If you are feeling stuck in your career try these 3 tips:

You are grown up so stop insulting yourself.

Implying that you are not grown up or that you have always been confused is fodder for staying stuck and confused and is actually a way of insulting o yourself and your work history. Interrupt those statements the next time you are tempted to use them—because not only are they not helpful, they can be contributing to your feelings of confusion by programming your brain to look for more evidence to support your conclusion that you are lost. 

Give yourself a grace period.

If you have worked ten or even twenty years, you have earned a period of reflection and re-assessment. One of the reasons we say these insulting things about ourselves is that on some level we think that we should know exactly where we are headed (and why) at all times. That is not possible for most of us. Most of us reach a point in life where we realize we are unhappy or dissatisfied, and that creates discomfort. Give yourself a grace period (6+ months) to productively explore thoughts, dreams, options, and yes, the discomfort. 

Try to enjoy the experience.

Like it or not, you are here at the corner of unhappy and uncertain. It happens! So why not enjoy it? It might feel like it’s going to last forever, but it won’t as long as you can get yourself committed to the experience of productive reflection. If you think about it, it’s a pretty high-priority problem. You may not be looking for food or shelter for your survival—but you are taking some much-needed time to discover your true strengths and how you want to use them for the next (or even last) phase of your career.


“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Alice Walker

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